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Seven persevere, graduate
For seven North Valley High School seniors who said getting through school has been a struggle, their futures are now as bright as any other high school graduate.
They passed the same requirements and state exit exam as their counterparts at Orland High, and almost all have the same dream of college or career.
Sheila Pete wants to become a nurse. Cuahtemoc Melgarejo plans to enter the military.
North Valley Principal Armand Brett said the class of 2012 faced a number of hurdles getting through high school, although several of the seniors participated in sports, music or had outside jobs.
Many found themselves at North Valley for different reasons, and some risked being among California's 20 percent of high school students who slip through an educational crack, are kicked out of their regular school or drop out without ever receiving a high school diploma.
"They put in a lot of hard to get through the challenges," said lead teacher Sean Crosswhite. "I'm very proud of them."
Ronald Barletta came to North Valley High after falling behind in credits, and said he was relieved to be able to catch up and complete his requirements for a diploma.
Stephanie Geary fought back tears when she said she struggled to apply herself in school.
"I had to be strong," she said. "I had a lot of people who cared and wanted to see me graduate."
Geary plans to attend Butte College to become a phlebotomist.
Brittany Smith finished her high school education almost entirely by taking courses online, something educators say is the wave of the future in education.
Smith says it requires responsibility and a lot of self discipline.
"You have to do your work on time and you have to maintain your grades," she said.
Smith said she plans to start Butte College's nursing program in the fall, but eventually plans to attend a university to become a pediatrician.
Although North Valley High School is an alternative to traditional high school, its graduation ceremony on Tuesday was similar to any other.
Wearing green or white caps and gowns, North Valley seniors marched in to "Pomp and Circumstance," and were all smiles as they stepped up to receive their diplomas.
North Valley teacher Margaret Somerville said she hoped the new graduates would proceed in life with the plans they've made.
"You each have a bright future," she told them. "Make the best of it."
North Valley High School graduated 12 seniors this year, some of whom finished mid year and did not take part in commencement exercises.
CONTACT Susan Meeker at 934-6800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.